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Montana 28, Illinois 23, Mr. Baucus 20, New Hampshire 16, Mrs. Murray 13, Wyoming 13, Tennessee 13, Washington 11, Oregon 11, Mr. Durbin 10, Ms. Ayotte 10, North Dakota 9, California 7, America 7, United States 6, Mrs. Boxer 6, Ayotte 6, Alexander 6, Us 5, Durbin 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    March 22, 2013
    5:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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the presiding officer: are there any senators who wish to change their votes? if want, yeas 41, nays 58. the amendment is not agreed to. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: move to r reconsid. move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, i have an amendment at the desk, 261, on behalf of mr. thune and i. this amendment would --
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the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from missouri, for himself, and mr. thune, proposes amendment numbered 261. at the end of subtitle a -- mr. blunt: that's fine. mr. president, this amendment would protect consumers from energy price spikes and workers from significant job loss by providing a point of order against a carbon tax or a fee on carbon emissions. energy intensive jobs are the first to go when your utility prices get uncompetitive. your ability to compete in the world marketplace, the price of american made goods, what families pay at the pump, what they pay for heating and cooli cooling, what they pay for every american product they make would be impacted by a carbon tax or fee. and i urge the support of this amendment. mrs. murray: mr. president if. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i yield one minute to the senator from rhode island. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, except for perhaps in congress
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and in the boardrooms of exxonmobil, it is no longer credible to deny what carbon pollution -- the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. mr. whitehouse: -- it is no longer credible to ignore what carbon pollution is doing to our atmospheres and to our oceans. we aid and abet that harm by subsidizing carbon, distorting the market, by violating the rule that the cost of a product should be in its price. nonrepealable laws of nature, laws of physics, laws of chemistry are at work and history's judgment will be harsh if we continue to fail in respecting those laws. i urge a "no" vote and yield back to the senator from washington. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, i raise a point of order that the pending amendment is not germane to the underlying resolution and therefore violates section 305-b-2 of the congressional budget act of 1974. the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: mr. president, i move to waive section 305-b-2 of the congressional budget act for consideration of the pending amendment number 261 pursuant to
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904-c of the congressional budget act of 1974. and would ask for a volt. mrs. murray: ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll on the motion to waive the budget acted. -- motion to waive the budget act. vote:
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the presiding officer: is there anyone wishing to vote or change their votes? on this motion, the yeas are 53, the nays are 46. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. the point of order is sustained and the amendment fails. mrs. murray: move to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. murray: lay it on the table. the presiding officer: so ordered. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: we are on the boxer amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, can there be order in the chamber. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the senator from california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, my amendment simply ensures that important issues will be
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addressed while the decision on keystone pipeline is being made. for example, how much of the oil will actually stay in america or will it be exported and raise energy prices here at home? two, how much of the -- the presiding officer: the clerk will report the amendment. mrs. boxer: i'm sorry. then i get to say it again. okay. the clerk: the senator from california, mrs. boxer, proposes an amendment numbered 622. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: all right. thank you. my amendment simply ensures important issues will be addressed such as how much oil will stay here versus how much will be exported and, therefore, will we suffer from higher energy prices? how much steel will be made in america? how many private property right suits will result from this pipeline? we've had a lot of them on the southern leg. and how will this affect our national security, this dirty tar sands oil? american national security experts warn us against the instability worldwide caused by
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climate disruption. so please vote aye on this amendment, regardless of how you feel on keystone. these are essential issues that must be addressed. i thank you so much, and i ask for an aye vote. a senator: mr. president? i ask for -- the presiding officer: the senator will proceed. mr. hoeven: thank you, mr. president. i ask that this amendment be opposed. it's an effort to prevent construction of the most studied pipeline project in the history of the united states. after four environmental impact statements, every one of the reports has shown no environmental impact. every state on the route has approved this project. the studies that are asked for in this amendment have been done. in 2011, the department of energy provided a report and said the oil will be used in this country and we'll need more. in addition, this would preclude local eminent domain laws which would prevent the pipeline from being constructed. it also says you can't use any materials manufactured in canada for a pipeline that's built half
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in canada and half in the united states. i urge a "no" vote. mrs. murray: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the. the presidinthe presiding offic. the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: this amendment is a bipartisan amendment. it puts the senate on record in support of the keystone pipeline project. and that's just appropriate. every state on the route, as i said just a minute ago, has aproved the project. the department of state has done four environmental impact statements over the last five years -- four. and they have said there are no significant environmental impacts. and i.t. time that we in the senate stepped up with the american people in. in a recent poll, 70% of the
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american public said, build the pipeline. only 17% said they oppose it. so it's time for us to join every single state on the route to say we support this project, we support this pipeline. after five years, let's build it. this is energy, this is jobs, this is getting our economy going and growing, and this is making sure we don't have to import oil from the middle east. and i.t. not just oil from canada. it is oil from the great state of north dakota and montana -- light, sweet crude is what we need to get to our refineries. please join knee i me in voting. the presiding officer: does the senator call up the amendment? mr. hoeven: i call up the amendment. the clerk: the senator proposes amendment number 494. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i yield to the senator california. mrs. boxer: mr. president, the handwrite something on the wall. i see it.
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but i do feel when my colleague argued against my amendment -- and he was quite successful -- he didn't say -- it was not an accurate ampleght th argument. the fact is, his amendment has already made the decision for us that everything is hungy ambassadorrhung -- hunkydory wi. we don't know how much of the steel will be american. we don't know how many of the jobs will be american. we don't know if our national security people think that dirty tar sands is going to create climate disruption. wake up. this is the only place in america where people don't understand that real climate disruption is very dangerous. you want to talk about polls? look at what the people think about extreme weather. look at what the people think about too much carbon pollution. so there'll be another day to fight. but i want to say to my friend, he is a good guy, we've worked well together on this, but with respect, i hope we will vote
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"no" and allow the process to continue. the presiding officer: senator's time has expired. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: before we go to this vote, i would just remind all senators that at the end of this vote, there will be up to 40 minutes of debate before the next amendments. i would ask all senators who leave the floor to be back here at 6:30, maybe a little bit before that, but i would remind all of you, if you drift back in for a half an hour on the first vote, it will be later and later as we get through this. i would really ask everyone who leaves after they vote to be back here at 6:30 at the latest. we may yield a little bit back. but please be back by that time. with that, i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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mr. durbin: mr. president, it's my understanding under the unanimous consent request, there's 40 minutes of debate that's allocated between those of us in support of marketplace fairness and those who are
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offering amendments. senator ayotte and senator baucus. is my understanding correct? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mr. durbin: thank you. do you mind if i say a word in opening? thank you, senator. this marketplace fairness act is known to every member of the senate because i've spoken to everyone on this side of the aisle, and i thank senator enzi and senator alexander has spoken to everyone on the other side of the aisle. senator enzi began this effort 14 years ago. he is a small businessman by profession and when he came to the senate, he saw a problem that needed to be solved, and he has done yeomen work to reach this point in the debate. i salute him for that effort. i thank him for allowing me to join and bring it to the floor this day. and special thanks to senator alexander from tennessee who has been an able partner in our effort to bring this matter before the senate. mr. president, this is an issue every american can understand. we now live in the internet age. internet retailers are selling things over the internet that we
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are buying every single day. estimates are that $150 billion in sales are made each year over the internet. that is part of america. it is part of our economy. but it has created an unfairness which we need to address with this legislation. back home in massachusetts, in illinois and tennessee, in florida, there are people with shops and businesses who get up every morning and open those shops, watch their employees file in and do business locally. when they make their sales of goods and services, they collect the sales taxes which each state requires, and they collect other taxes as well. their taxes sustain businesses, sustain schools and highways and police protection. unfortunately, a supreme court decision of almost 20 years ago, the quill decision, basically said that if we're going to require the internet sales to collect sales tax, congress has to do it. that's why we're here tonight on this marketplace fairness act.
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what we are proposing is not a new tax. it is the collection of an existing tax, a sales tax that is basically owed in all but four states across the united states. we believe this is a fair thing to do so that those local businesses have a fighting chance. otherwise they're competing against retailers who don't collect sales taxes and have that price advantage over them. that isn't fair to the businesses on main streets across america. it isn't fair to our economy. what we're looking for is basic fairness. at this point i yield the floor to the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i thank senator durbin and senator enzi for their hard work on this. they have taken a problem and simplified it and solved it in my opinion. this is an 11-pain bill, a rarity -- an 11-page bill, a rarity. it gives states and state legislatures the right to decide to collect sales and use taxes that are already owed from all the people who owe it rather
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than just some of the people who owe it. i have a very conservative friend over here on the republican side who said to me "i hate taxes. but the one thing i hate worse is people who owe taxes who don't pay them." that's what this is about. but for me, as a former governor there is something even more important, and that is the importance that we respect our constitutional framework which says that governors and legislatures should make their own decisions about their services and their taxes. that's the spirit of the 10th amendment. that's the spirit of this country. we don't require states to play mother may i to the congress of the united states. and so we say to the governor of tennessee and the legislature of tennessee, you decide whether you want to allow people who owe the sales tax not to have to pay it, because the sellers don't collect t. that's why many democratic governors support this. but a growing number, really an
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honor roll of conservatives and republican leaders and governors support the marketplace fairness act. al cardniss supports it. he says the systems we have today is outdated and unfair. after that, governor mcdonnell of virginia, haslam of tennessee, chris christie of new jersey, mike pens of indiana, mitch daniels, haley barbour, they say look, we're governors of states. we should have the responsibility for doing this. there have been some strange arguments made against it like we'll wait until tax reform. how can you put this in tax reform if it's not in the tax code? have we stoufrpbg a new low -- sunk to a new lower going to use state budgets to balance our own budgets? no, mr. president. this is a straightforward issue. are we going to respect, as we swore to do when we took an oath to this constitutional framework, are we going to respect the states, recognizing
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states have the right to be right and the states have the right to be wrong. and illinois is different than tennessee and tennessee is different than wyoming. and the governors in those states can decide what their tax structure should be, how they want to collect it. and they should decide, in my opinion, although we don't have to decide that here, that they wouldn't pick and choose between sellers, pick and choose between taxpayers, and pick and choose between businesses. if i walk into the national boot company and try on a boot and buy it, the seller collects the state sales tax. if i order it in a catalog, the seller does not. the governor of tennessee wants to be able to treat them the same; i think we should do that. i fly up here every week for an hour. that hour plane ride doesn't make me any smarter than i was when i left nashville. and i think our governor, our lieutenant governor, our legislature, very conservative, very republican, understand that they don't like taxes but they don't like worse, they don't like worse people who owe taxes
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but don't pay them and they want the right to fix that problem. so i'm in strong support and stand with the 15 or so senators on both sides of the aisle who endorse the marketplace fairness act. and i congratulate senator durbin and senator enzi for their hard work. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: who yields time? the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president, i yield a couple minutes to myself. mr. president, different states have different tax regimes. some states decide they want to have income tax. other states have big property taxes. other states say they want to have a sales tax but not income tax. there are many states with no income tax. and those states are states that some people gravitate to because they don't want to pay state income taxes. but i think states should have the right to choose their own taxation system, and we should
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not pass legislation here which tends to force certain state taxation system on the other. that's what this legislation does. it basically forces all states to have sales taxes whether they want one or not. in my state of montana, sales tax is anathema. it is anathema. nobody touches the sales tax. what this says, okay, you can have a sales tax eventually in my state, because we don't have a sales tax, and, therefore, businesses in montana don't collect sales tax. but they'll have to collect sales tax in sales to other states. in effect, we're going to be forced to have a sales tax. we don't want one. we're going to fight it fiercely. second, this basically -- and i have the language here -- basically it says, allowing states to force state law and local use tax law in remote sales -- by such legislation. essentially it says that states like, a person in california can use state law to enforce and
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collect and audit even, probably, a businessperson in another state. i've never heard this happening before. just think of it. we are asking and telling and directing states to force law in another state, on another businessman in another state. i've never heard of this. this sets terrible precedent. we don't want to do this. next is the complexity of this thing. authors of this have been working on this issue for 12 years, saying they've got all the computer programs. we've never seen it. there's never been any indications in over thousands of jurisdictions, states, locations, municipalities. put yourself in the place of a small business penn -- person trying to figure what is the jurisdiction. it is going to change next year. how are you going to deal with that? we're not going to be able to.
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it is an unimagineably complex situation. mr. president, i've got lots of other points i want to make later, but those are two. and i just believe it makes much more sense, with all the complexities in this thing to be aired in a committee of jurisdiction -- that is the finance committee. i disagree with my friend from tennessee. it is not a state tax, a payroll tax. it is a sales tax. we can easily deal with this in the finance committee. that is our jurisdiction. then we can work on all these complexities that have not been addressed. they're not addressed in this resolution. no protection in this resolution whatsoever. i reserve the balance of my time, mr. president, and yield two minutes to the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: mr. president -- mr. baucus: four minutes. the senator can use it any way she wants to. ms. ayotte: thank you,
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mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: i stand in opposition to the main street fairness act. there is nothing fair about intervention in the internet marketplace. what this does is to make the internet, to force the internet marketplace to force online businesses to become tax collectors. this act should be called what it is, the internet tax collection act. this act essentially forces states to become tax collectors for 9,600 state and local tax jurisdictions across this country. it tramples on states' rights. it tramples on the rights of private businesses and all states, but especially in states like mine of new hampshire. it creates a nightmare for these , a bureaucratic nightmare for these states, having to comply with almost 10,000 tax jurisdictions across this country. guess what? they can be subject to nearly 10,000 tax audits within those jurisdictions. one of my businesses in new hampshire said -- i know senator
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shaheen is here as well. what new hampshire business has said, it's a job killer. the compliance with this act is absolutely terrifying. and another blow to our survivors for so many small businesses using the internet. finally to my conservative friends, there is nothing conservative about this. it is the long arm of the federal government punishing states like mine that don't have a sales tax, that have made fiscally responsible choices. it picks winners and losers instead of letting the marketplace do it. and a whole host of conservative groups have come out against it, including the heritage foundation, the campaign for liberty, americans for tax reform has in fact called this, this legislation can only be viewed as a tax increase. in addition to that, the cato institute, the national taxpayers union and heartland. there is nothing conservative about this. this tramples on states' rights. think about it. making online sellers the tax
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collectors for this nation because states are cash strapped. it's wrong and i hope my colleagues will vote against it. thank you, mr. president. i yield -- mr. baucus: mr. president, i think it's now time for those on this side to say a word or two. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: i appreciate the comments of the two people that are from states that don't have a sales tax. and what i can guarantee is there isn't anything in this bill -- and in fact we aren't even on the bill. this is an amendment so that we can find out if a majority of the senate is in favor of making sure that we go through legislation that will actually solve a problem that's over 20 years old, a problem that the supreme court decided on and said that congress was the one that needed to fix it. they didn't say the states ought to fix it. they said congress ought to fix
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it. what we've been trying to do is fix it. i had a very complicated bill before it was called streamline sales tax bill. it took care of a lot of these problems that you're talking about about the multijurisdictions and allowed for one check to be sent to one location and then distributed out to those that were participating. senator alexander had a better idea, and that's the one that's in the bill that you see before us. and that's one that makes it states' rights, where the states can decide what they're going to do and how they're going to do it, provided they follow a certain number of rules. it isn't as definitive as that bill yet because that bill would have to pass through this body as well. but i can assure you that no person in a state that doesn't have a sales tax now would have to pay a sales tax. if there's a business selling into a state that does have a sales tax, yes, they would have to collect that sales tax and
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forward it to that state. and if their complexities or if there are conflicts with that, those can be worked out as the legislation goes through. nobody mentioned there is a $1 million exemption in the bill. when we talk about small businesses, if they have less than $1 million in sales, they don't have to do this. once they reach $1 million in sales, they do it the next year. so it isn't a problem of starting in the middle of the year. it also requires that the states provide the information, the programs for them to do this. so it is a states' rights issue, and that's what the supreme court suggested when they suggested that we need to fix this. and if you talk to your small businesses, you'll find that they want it fixed, because there isn't fair competition with it anymore. people come in to a store -- i
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was in the shoe business. they try on shoes. they get all the help that they need. they find out what they want. and then they just order it over the internet. and i'm always kind of interested when they say, well, i got free shipping. when you go into that store and you try on those shoes, you can pick it up right then. you don't even have a day's delay. it isn't even express shipping that's needed. i hope that we're able to work on the bill and actually complete a bill and take care of this difference that's taking money away from states. and they're not asking the federal government for a single dollar. they're not asking for the federal government to enforce this. they're asking for the right to have their states' rights. i yield the floor and keep the balance of my time. mr. baucus: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: how much time is remaining on each side? the presiding officer: the senator from montana has 7 minutes. the senator from new hampshire
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has 7 minutes. the senator from wyoming has 7 minutes. and the senator from illinois has 5 minutes. mr. baucus: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i yield 3 minutes to the senator from oregon. and i might say too, i think the other senator from oregon will get 1 minute. i urge you not to use it all right now. mr. wyden: thank you very much. and i will not. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: the durbin-enzi amendment forgets that we are in a global economy. this measure does not and cannot reach foreign retailers. so if you are a small business, for example, say, in montana, you are sacked with the burdens of this bill, all the administrative nightmares that senator baucus and senator ayotte have outlined, and you're just going to say to yourself
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why not do business in canada or mexico or even china? i know my colleagues who are advocating this don't intend this result, but their legislation really ought to be called the shop mexico bill or the shop canada bill or the shop china bill. and i don't think that makes any sense. chairman baucus, of course, handles these global economic kinds of questions in the finance committee. that's the place we ought to look at it and why we ought to reject this amendment today. i yield back. i reserve my time. a senator: mr. president? mr. merkley: mr. president, in oregon we don't particularly like the sales tax and that is why we don't have one. it is regressive, more expensive to collect. but what we hate even more is some state telling us what we have to do. i've heard people on this floor talk about states' rights all the time. and now folks are standing up
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here and saying we want your retailers to collect our tax. and we're not even going to compensate them for their time. we're not even going to compensate them for their effort. that's virtually a taking. and now, as my colleague pointed out, this really is about attacking business in america, small and medium-size business in america to the benefit of our foreign competitors. that's wrong, and we should oppose this for this multiple reasons. the presiding officer: who yields time? ms. ayotte: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: mr. president, i would yield 4 minutes to my colleague from new hampshire, senator shaheen. mrs. shaheen: thank you. i'm pleased to join my colleague from new hampshire, senator ayotte, and the other opponents of this amendment. senator alexander said that
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states should be able to decide what to do about taxes. well, in new hampshire, we've decided. we don't want a sales tax. we don't collect one. we don't ask our small businesses to collect one. and the fact is is amendment wod harm small family-owned retail businesses in new hampshire. i talked to a business in hudson, new hampshire, along the border with massachusetts, and he's got six employees. he's about to reach $1 million in sales. and he says that under this legislation, his company would have to start collecting taxes not just in new hampshire, but for 45 other states. and it would put him at such a disadvantage that he couldn't continue to grow. just as senator wyden said, what these businesses are going to do then is going to go look for someplace elsewhere they don't have to worry about collecting these taxes over the internet. i agree with senator alexander.
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i think we should ensure states' rights and small businesses are protected. but we don't do that by passing this amendment. i yield back my time. mr. baucus: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president, i yield a couple of minutes to my good friend from montana, senator tester. i understand senator ayotte is going to yield additional time later on. mr. tester: i want to thank the senior senator from montana. thanks for being a part of this discussion. this is an incredible overreach. the senator from wyoming talked about the fact that we're not forcing a sales tax on any state. but you are. you're requiring our small businesses to collect taxes from other states. this is an incredible violation. it changes the entire standard for tax collection. it's not a road you want to go down. but yet, you're going to allow businesses in tennessee or illinois or wyoming or any other state in the union that has a
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sales tax to walk into my state and tell my small businesses that they've got to collect your sales tax. who's going to pay for that? who's going to do the audit? the senator from new hampshire said this is a job-killing bill. it is a job-killing bill but it is a great job creator in the bureaucracy. we're going to be increasing the bureaucracy in in government for tax collection like we've never seen before, in auditing like we've never seen before. and who pays for it? i guarantee you, it is not fair to force this kind of tax collection from another state, telling another state what they've got to do to collect taxes. it just makes no sense. it talks about 9,600, there's state and local taxes. there's all sorts of different mechanisms here. if you've got a state that collects 5% in tax and another one that collects 10%, you're going to make that business that has a sales tax collect an additional 5% and bring it back to that other state? does it sound complicated? it is. it's very complicated.
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we do not want to go down this road. this is bad, bad, bad public policy. i would encourage everybody in this chamber and everybody watching on c-span that is going to vote in a few minutes, to vote this amendment down. mr. baucus: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: how much time is remaining on each side? the presiding officer: the senator from montana has 2 minutes. the senator from new hampshire has 5. the senator from wyoming has 7. and the senator from illinois has 5 still. mr. baucus: i suggest the other side has more time remaining, so they should speak next. mr. enzi: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: i had thought maybe the ones from new hampshire and montana might share with us a little bit about the amendments that they're proposing. but in light of them not doing that, i'd yield two minutes to the senator from illinois. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i'm going to yield my time to the senator from north dakota who was a party to the quill decision before the
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u.s. supreme court 20 years ago and served as tax commissioner in the state of north dakota. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. heitkamp: i want to make a couple of points on foreign corporations. we already impose a use tax on foreign corporations all the time. north dakota does in fact require permitting so long as they have physical presence in north dakota. on the issue of new hampshire and montana, i will bet you i could find small businesses both in new hampshire and in montana that already collect sales and use taxes for other states. the only thing that this does is change the rules regarding what requires on nexus, what is the single thing that happens that requires a collection responsibility. for years not just the quill case, but national bell says you have to have a physical presence. the world has changed since we
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have physical presence. we now say economic presence is adequate for equal protection to be satisfied. what we're asking for is that we look at economic presence, the same way we do across the boundaries, and create fairness for main street businesses. what do i mean by that? main street businesses who every day compete against internet sellers unfairly. main street businesses who are struggling. main street businesses who put fliers for their schools, contribute to their community but can't survive because they can't afford a 7% or 8% or 9% disadvantage in the marketplace. it is not fair. it is not fair to main street. we need to recognize the reality. we heard about the global economy. you're right. the economy's changed. how we do business doesn't depend on physical presence anymore. it's economic presence. $1 million is a lot of economic presence in the marketplace.
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and so i'd yield the rest of my time back to the senator from illinois. mr. baucus: mr. president, things are getting a little down to the wire here. how much time is remaining? mr. durbin: is there any time remaining of the time yielded from the senator from wyoming? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming has four minutes remaining. mr. baucus: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: i yield a minute to the senator from oregon. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: under this amendment, we could not touch an online retailer who is wholly overseas, shipping into the united states with u.p.s. we could not touch them. what the senator from north dakota's talking about is obviously foreign corporations, people with physical presence, but if you're wholly overseas, an online internet retailer shipping into this country, you get a free ride under this
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legislation. that's why it's going to create an incentive to take american jobs from here, locate overseas where you get a free ride. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: mr. president, i yield three minutes of my time to the senator from florida, senator rubio. mr. rubio: thank you, senator. this is a very interesting debate, and it's a very interesting topic to talk about. i have talked to a few members who have had this debate internally with their staff. it's a very interesting issue. i want my fellow senators to understand what you're going to have to explain to people in your state. if something like this were to ever happen, there would be businesses in your state that at the end of the year are going to be audited by and have to interact with states halfway across the country, on the other side of the country. places where they don't know anybody, places where they may not have a lawyer, a lobbyist, anybody representing them. they are going to have to deal with states that they have nothing to do with. that's what you're going to have to explain to your businesses. your businesses and your states
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are going to have to comply with laws and courts and regulatory agencies and other states that they have nothing to do with other than the fact that someone who lived there happened to buy something from them. now, you try explaining that. it sounds great in this little debate we're having here. you try explaining that to a businessman or woman in your community or in your state and i guarantee you you will get some puzzled looks. here is the other thing i will tell you. i understand there is an exemption for businesses with under a million in revenue, but depending on what you sell, that may or may not be that much. i would say to you that over time especially that figure is going to mean less and less in terms of who doesn't have to comply. look, i dealt with this issue when i was in the state legislature in florida, especially my last two years when i was the speaker. i will be frank what this is about, at least for many of these states. this is about the fact that according to some, there is $23 billion of what they claim is uncollected sales tax receipts across the country. you don't think that gets their attention? you don't think that that's what this is about? that's what this is about. i'm not saying on the retail side they are not interested in
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the way the business is conducted and what it means in comparison to their competitors, but i promise you from the governmental side, this is about the money that they think they can get their hands on and what it would mean for their government and their ability to function. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. baucus: i have to inquire again, mr. president, about the time remaining. the presiding officer: the senator from montana has one minute. mr. baucus: does the other side have any time? the presiding officer: the senators from wyoming and illinois have five minutes each. the senator from wyoming. mr. enzi: we have heard a lot of complaints from primarily the nonsales tax states about the amendment that we have proposed, but we haven't heard anything about the amendments that they have proposed. i really thought that they would use part of their time to make a case for what they were
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proposing. and i'm still expecting that they would do that, and when they do that, then we ought to have some time for rebuttal on it. that's why we have saved some of our time. so i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, in the interest of moving this forward, i -- we have scheduled a vote on the ayotte amendment next after the vote on the enzi amendment, and i would urge everyone who votes for the enzi-durbin-alexander amendment to oppose the ayotte amendment, because she includes a provision in that amendment which absolutely destroys the whole effort here. she requires physical nexus. as senator hient has -- heitkamp, that's what this is all about, whether you have to be physically present in order to pay sales tax. i urge all of my colleagues who support the marketplace sales tax to oppose the ayotte amendment. i hope shoo she will explain why
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she wants -- i think we understand from her arguments why she wants that position. to my friend from oregon, senator wyden, who talked about the impossibility of collecting sales tax from foreign entities, that's just not true. the same collection mechanisms presently available to states to obtain and enforce judgments against foreign entities would be available to states with respect to foreign entities failing to comply with this act. states currently have and would continue to have access to customs information on imported goods. states can use that information as a means of encouraging sellers to collect sales tax. states currently have and would continue to have the ability to impose liens on any property imposed by remote sellers, even property in transit. the reason we can't taxes from international entities is to ignore existing law. let me say a word about the small businesses of montana. after the $1 million exemption, i would ask my senator friend from montana, do you know how
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many internet retail sellers would be affected by the marketplace fairness act in montana? mr. baucus: too many. mr. durbin: three. out of 975 internet retailers with over $1 million in sales, there are three in the state of montana. this is an undue burden on the small businesses of montana? what i would say to the senator from florida and the senator from montana, what we are saying is very basic, you aren't forced to sell in illinois. there is no reason why you have to sell in illinois. you choose to do it. and if you choose to do it, all we say is follow our law. our law says if you make a sale in our state, there is a sales tax to be paid. if you don't want to get involved in that, you don't have to sell in our state. keep your marketplace limited to places that you want to do business with. that's your right as a businessman. but if you want to sell in our states, you have a legal obligation to pay in our states. if you wanted to open a business on michigan avenue in chicago, you know you would have to pay
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plenty of taxes. why is it if you want to sell to the same people living on michigan avenue you have no obligation to pay a sales tax? that's what this is about. i would have -- keep the balance of my time. ms. ayotte: mr. president, how much time is left on my -- the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire has three minutes. ms. ayotte: mr. president, i would say this. i can't imagine that businesses in new hampshire or businesses in wyoming or other businesses now if this is passed, not only are they going to have to collect, all businesses, almost 9,600 tax jurisdictions, but heaven forbid they are audited because now they are going to have to get on a plane, find a lawyer in another state and deal with some other state's jurisdictions, and that's the nightmare of this. i can't imagine that people would want to support it. and i also want to mention the privacy implications of this. i know the senator from north
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dakota mentioned a case she had. i actually had a case when i was attorney general where new hampshire refused to collect the use tax for massachusetts. they tried to bring us into court, and i won that case. do you know one of the big issues in it? privacy. asking our retailers to ask people who bought things and for them, where are you from, what are you going to use it for? that is exactly, there are serious privacy implications with all the information we are going to be gathering with this so-called making our businesses across this country tax collectors. and generally, when states do collect taxes but we don't generally ask private businesses to do the jobs of the state to become tax collectors. mr. president, my amendment is simple. it respects states' rights, and if anyone wants to respect states' rights and make sure that there is a level playing field for all states to make their decisions in protecting data and also to protect the rights of their states against foreign entities, that's what the amendment does, and i thank you, mr. president. i yield my time.
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i yield my time. mr. enzi: mr. president, i would yield two minutes to the senator from tennessee and then my final two minutes to the senator from illinois. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. we have talked about how difficult this is. this is a good example of why we need to get this out of washington and back in the states. for the last 15 years, the states have been figuring out how to do this. they have it pretty well worked out. in just a 20-minute debate, we make it sound complicated. here is how hard it is. if i buy some ice cream ingredients from williams sonoma and they are in another state, i use my credit card, i put in my zip code and the software alltelly sells williams sonoma what the sales tax is that is owed, they collect it and they wire it to the state government. that's all that happens. this debate sounds like it happened in 1890 before the horse and buggy, before the internet. i mean, we live in a different world. and here's what's fair. what's fair is allowing a state,
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not washington -- listen to the chair of the american conservative union. he says when it comes to state sales taxes, it's time to address the area where federally mandated prejudice is most egregious. the policy toward internet sales, the decades-old inequity between online sales and in-person sales is outdated and unfair. that means that if i am trying to run the national boot company, i have got to pay a 10% penalty to somebody who is out of state. if somebody is out of state and by catalog or by internet they want to sell to the six million people in tennessee, they don't have to do that. they can sell in kentucky, they can sell in ohio, everywhere else, but if they want to sell in our state, mr. president, they should live by the same rules that tennesseans do. we don't believe in picking and choosing winners or losers. we don't believe in treating one taxpayer this way, another taxpayer that way. we don't want to pick one business this way and another that way, and we don't like the idea of washington making us
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play mother may i to come up here and ask permission to decide whether we're going to collect sales tax from everybody who already owes it rather than just some people who owe it. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i thank the senator from tennessee for making that point. this notion that it is fundamentally unfair that we would ask a retailer, internet retailer who wants to sell in illinois that they collect the same sales tax for that sale as the businesses in illinois. i mean, for goodness sakes, you are asking for a safe haven here, an advantage over a lot of good small businesses in my home state. as senator alexander said, if you don't want to abide by the laws of illinois, for goodness sakes, make your sales elsewhere. the marketplace fairness act levels the playing field for all retailers, internet and direct. it provides software free of charge to help retailers calculate sales and use taxes. i heard my friend, the sthor from montana, talk about how complex this was, how difficult
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this was. i just made a recent purchase on amazon, which endorses the marketplace fairness act, and i paid sales tax. they didn't ask for any additional time to calculate it. as soon as i put in my zip code, they knew exactly what to collect from me. that's how easy and simple it is these days. this bill will also provide liability protection to ensure that if the software calculates the wrong tax, retailers, internet retailers are held harmless. finally, the bill protects small businesses, as we mentioned earlier, by exempting small sellers with less than a million dollars in annual remote sales nationwide. i know as well that there are other elements of this that ought to be considered, but we ought to consider this -- there was a time when we stayed away from this issue. i remember the senator from oregon, senator wyden, was in this conversation about the internet being brand-new, the baby in the crib, let him get started, let's make sure they are solid, moving forward. we can't ask them to do certain
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things. that day's over. $150 billion in sales? in our lives, everybody's lives, we use the internet every day. what's wrog with asking them to pay sales tax for the sales into the states where they are doing business? otherwise, look at the disadvantage you create for businesses. now, the state of oregon represented in this debate, the state of montana, the state of new hampshire and one other have decided they don't want a state sales tax. there is nothing in this bill which would require the residents in that state to pay one penny in sales tax on anything that they purchased, period. there's no requirement to change that. i know that as dale bumpers used to say, they hate sales tax in your states like the devil hates holy water, but we're not imposing a sales tax on you, only if your new hampshire business wants to sell in another state. then, of course, i think they ought to play by the rules of that state. that is basically what we're asking. so at this point i ask how much time is remaining,
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mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois has one minute remaining. mr. durbin: i would retain the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: any time remaining on my time? the presiding officer: one minute remaining, senator. ms. ayotte: mr. president, i would like to say this -- he's got it all wrong, because when the business from new hampshire -- when the person from illinois buys from the business in new hampshire, it should be up to illinois to enforce against their own residents because they are essentially buying from new hampshire, and i would yield the rest of my time to the senator from montana. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president, i will yield one minute to the senator from oregon. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: thank you very much, senator baucus. senator durbin is right. things have changed. the internet is now the shipping lane of the 21st century and foreign retailers are going to get an advantage. colleagues, if this was
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enforceable, like senator durbin and senator enzi are saying, europe would go out and put it in place tomorrow and do it to our sellers. it's not enforceable. it violates the world trade organization. it advantages foreign retailers at our expense, and i hope my colleagues will reject the amendment. the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president, the senator from wyoming's right. and i see the senator from north dakota shaking her head. with all due respect, i think she is not correct. this is either enforceable in foreign countries or it's not. it's impossible to force our laws on other countries unless other countries consent. just to say so in a statute here does not make it true, in a bill does not make it true. there has got to be a treaty, a tax treaty. there has to be some way for the foreign jurisdiction to agree. otherwise, we cannot possibly enforce this in other jurisdictions. or if we do, then those other countries go back to the same thing in the united states.
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do we want chinese direct sellers to come back to the united states or vice versa for the chinese to collect in the united states? the senator from new hampshire had it exactly right. it should be the purchaser who pays the tax, and that's where it should be enforced, not the tax collector being a small businessman in another state. and i'm ready to sum up by saying -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. baucus: we'll take this up in the finance committee and work out these out, but that's where it should be done. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: do i have the last minute remaining? let me just say, my friend, senator heitkamp from north dakota knows the case so well. you want to read buckley vs. the state of california as to whether state laws are enforceable against foreign companies. they are. that decision has already been reached. this argument just doesn't hold water. what does hold water is this. there is no reason why any state, retailer, should have an unfair advantage doing business in my state or any other state. if they want to compete with my businesses that paid their taxes
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as they are supposed to, let them do business under the laws of the state of illinois. if they don't want to play by these rules, then they don't have to come to illinois. this is a question of fairness. the last point i will make is this -- this is voluntary, voluntary under the marketplace fairness act. states have to voluntarily decide that they want to be under this act. if they don't care to be, they don't have to be. so there is no heavy hand of the federal government here. the states can make this decision. it's up to them. i hope that all of those who support the marketplace fairness act will support the enzi-durbin amendment. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, my understanding is all the debate on this has expired, all the time has expired. the presiding officer: the senator is correct. mrs. murray: and that the enzi amendment is pending? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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